Pupils clear the woods for forest school

Children and staff at Springbank Primary School clearing land ready for the planting of trees for their woodland project
Children and staff at Springbank Primary School clearing land ready for the planting of trees for their woodland project

Children and staff at Springbank Primary School have been clearing woodland to make way for a ‘forest school’.

The Woodland Trust visited the site on Wednesday this week to make sure the trees were safe, and pupils helped clear the area.

Teachers are creating an enormous area, bigger than the school’s football pitch, where pupils can learn outdoors.

Sharon Shipman, the early years practioner, said: “It’s all about learning outside the classroom.

“They will be doing mini beast hunts, making a mud kitchen, collecting materials to make their own dens and houses and and collecting materials to make collages.

“They will be looking for different colours in the environment, such as seeing how many shades of brown they can spot, and we’ll be pressing berries and leaves onto fabric to make pictures.

“They will be able to make sensory trails, such as smooth and rough surfaces with smells such as mint, and they’ll be able to use tools for whittling and so on to make jewellery.”

Ms Shipman said the forest school will encourage all sorts of new personal skills, as well as practical.

“It’s great for co-operation, negotiation, working in a team and problem solving.

“Forest schools definitely empower the children and give them life skills.

“They are taking charge of the activities. We are making sure they’re safe but they have to manage the risks, and they have to work together.

The idea for a forest school came from the school’s early years leader, Caroline James.

She heard about it when she was on secondment with Sure Start.

She said: “We want this to be child-led. We’ve been to visit Bagthorpe School where there’s one and it’s fantastic.”